Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Nick Hornby - A Long Way Down

A Long Way DownA Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My interest in this book was piqued when I read that it was being made into a movie. I put it on my TBR (to be read) list, and Lo! I found it at the first try on the library shelves. That hardly ever happens. I have been trying to locate Choclat by Joanne Harris for a long time now, but its a no-show.

The book is about four people who land up at the top of tower block with the express intention of hurling themselves off it, on New Year's Eve.

Martin is a TV presenter who is mired in trouble. He is divorced and was imprisoned for sleeping with a minor.

Maureen is a single mother of a 19-year old boy who is a vegetable. She is tired of her life and wants to end it.

Jess has been dumped by her fiance and is severely depressed. She has many other things bothering her, but at the moment it is this that makes her want to jump off the tower.

JJ's life is over. He cannot bear carrying on delivering pizzas any more. He just has to jump.

These four find themselves lumped together by chance. The only thing that bonds them is that they chose the same time and spot to end their lives. Now, in a weird way they feel responsible for each other.

They set deadlines to see if they can survive another week, another month without killing themselves.

The theme is hardly a cheerful one, but Nick Hornby injects wit into the prose and makes us chuckle. The four protagonists get a passage each to speak out their thoughts and their version of the story. They speak in different tones as befits their characters. Maureen is the pious one, the oldest. Her voice is sedate, conservative. Martin gets the wittiest lines (I am glad Pierce Brosnan is playing him, but he is a tad old. I wish it were Hugh Grant.) Jess is a motormouth, spewing obscenities and speaking without thinking. People have a hard time getting along with her. JJ is the thoughtful one.

It is a different sort of a novel and I enjoyed reading it. Nick Hornby also wrote 'About a Boy' which was made into a delightful movie starring Hugh Grant, Toni Colette, Nicholas Hoult and Rachel Weisz. On my next trip to the library, I intend to hunt this one out. Or any other book by Nick Hornby.

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